The case of the Katyn massacre



In the spring of 1940, the families of Polish Army officers imprisoned by the Soviet Union stopped receiving letters that had previously regularly come from camps in Kozelsk, Starobilsk and Ostashkov. The fate of Polish prisoners of war was unknown until 1943, although in the realities of that time the Poles expected the worst. After the signing of the Sikorsky-Maysky Agreement, the Government of the Republic of Poland in exile asked for an explanation of the situation, both with the leader of the Soviet Union and with the Western allies. The Soviet Union vaguely explained that the prisoners had escaped from the camp and were hiding in distant Manchuria.

Diplomatic crisis

In April 1943, the Germans, who occupied Soviet territory, discovered the mass graves of Polish soldiers. In the Katyn Forest, the Soviet NKVD killed several thousand Polish officers. On April 13, Radio Berlin announced the opening. The news quickly spread around the world. The Soviets called the reports German propaganda and categorically denied their participation in the massacre, blaming the Germans for it. The case was to be investigated by commissions of the International Red Cross, formed independently by Germans and Poles. Consequently, the Soviets accused the Polish government in exile of collaborating with Germany, and on April 25 they severed diplomatic relations with the Polish government.

This was the beginning of the second diplomatic crisis in Polish-Soviet relations. This time the conflict was of interest to the Soviet Union, which did not want to cooperate with the Poles. The indecisive intervention of the British and Americans did not change the unfavorable balance of power. Prime Minister Winston Churchill even advocated restraint in the search for truth. The Allies feared the possibility of the Soviet Union withdrawing from the coalition, which could be of great importance in the context of further struggle. At that time, the Red Army was burdened with military actions against Germany.

Weakening of Poland's position

Due to the resolute attitude towards the Soviet Union, Poland's position was gradually marginalized in the Union, which allowed the Soviets to take anti-Polish actions in the territories they controlled. First, they created a Polish army, independent of the government in exile, consisting of Poles who had not been evacuated in 1942. Then they began preparations to seize political power in the German-occupied country. Communist activists, dependent on Moscow, came to Poland in 1944, where they formed collective bodies that usurped the right to govern Poland, and in 1945 established a Provisional Government. Also in this case, the Western allies did not decide to interfere and support the legitimate bodies operating in London. Moreover, in 1945 they refused to support the government in exile, sanctioning the establishment of communist power and the formal subordination of Poland to the dictatorship of the Soviet Union. The criminal policy of the Soviets towards Poland was supplemented by the abduction of sixteen leaders of the Polish underground and a prison sentence at a show trial in Moscow. Experience the thrill of online gambling at its finest with Loki Casino !

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